Saudi Arabia inks deal for 48 fighter jets

Saudi Arabia inks deal for 48 fighter jets

Saudi Arabia inks deal for 48 fighter jets

The deal for the Typhoon fighters has become bogged down in negotiations over where production of the jet will take place, with Saudi Arabia keen to have some parts of the process on Saudi soil.

Saudi Arabia has signed a memorandum of intent with the United Kingdom to buy 48 Typhoon aircraft, aerospace giant BAE Systems has said.

"We are committed to supporting the Kingdom as it modernises the Saudi Armed Forces and develops key industrial capabilities critical to the delivery of Vision 2030", it said.

The "memorandum of intent" to buy the jets came on the last day of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's three-day visit to the UK.

Prime Minister May defended the two countries' defence ties on Wednesday, saying all arms sales were strictly regulated.

And the Crown Prince said both countries are "much safer if you have a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia".

In what his office described as a "cordial and honest conversation", the archbishop also voiced his concern over the Saudi-led military action in Yemen, which has been the cause of protests during the crown prince's British visit.

Before his visit, the 32-year-old Crown Prince talked about the importance of security ties between between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.

A final deal would not resurrect those jobs, the company said, but would provide continuing employment to 5,000 people working on the Typhoons....

The British government is defending the sale of the planes to Saudi Arabia amid growing pressure to completely halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia with critics warning it will strengthen Riyadh's hand in its ongoing military campaign in Yemen. In its annual results overview for 2017, published on 28 February, BAE said: "Discussions with current and prospective operators of the Typhoon aircraft continue to support the group's expectations for additional Typhoon contract awards".

The Eurofighter Typhoon is the most important combat aircraft in BAE Systems' portfolio, accounting for almost a third of the unit's sales in 2016.

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